California Firearm Purchasing Process

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California Firearm’s Purchase Process

Congratulations on Your Decision to Practice Your 2nd Amendment Right to Bear Arms!


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Shooting Sports are a great recreational activity to share with Family and Friends. We understand some may have questions about the purchase of a firearm with California’s ever changing stringent regulations. Our goal is to make your purchasing experience as painless as possible so you can enjoy your firearm for years to come. Help us spread the word how exciting shooting sports can be. There are regulations that must be followed to purchase a firearm, which have been summarized and simplified below. Because new laws and regulations are added frequently, be sure to check with Brass & Bass, your local firearms dealer before making a purchase to avoid potentially costly mistakes or even a Felony. If a loved on has passed and you are not sure how to handle the individuals firearm stash, please contact us for assistance for travel and/or transfer information. Brass & Bass is here as your local firearm experts.

Federal and State law requires that you pass a background check before you can even purchase a firearm. This is the DROS process. The DROS is the “Dealers Record of Sale” form that must be filled out each time a firearm or firearms are purchased. The DROS form completed for firearm transfers, contains information about both the firearm buyer and the firearm itself (make, model, serial number, etc.). California also requires that you furnish either a hard copy Driver’s License, or hard copy California ID card. The only exception is for Military Personnel on active duty, in which case a Military ID card plus a copy of your orders to CA is sufficient (see additional state requirements for handguns, below). If your Driver’s License or ID card does not have your correct address of physical residence, or has a PO Box, you will be required to furnish additional proof of residence with your name on it, as described below.

Beginning January 1st, 2016, all firearm purchasers must have an FSC or Firearm Safety Certificate (valid for both handguns and long guns).  If you are purchasing a handgun, long gun (rifle or shotgun), you will need to have a current FSC card. You will need to obtain one prior to registering your hand gun or long gun.  You must take a 30 question test and pay a $25 fee for the FSC card.  We offer the test in the store, and it takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The only exception to the requirement for an FSC card is for long gun buyers who also have a valid CA Hunting License.  A copy of that license can be used in lieu of an FSC card.  The study guide for the FSC test, can be found on our website at in the resources tab in English and Spanish.

After the DROS process is started, there is a ten day “cooling off” period, where we store your firearm(s). Literally, you may not pick up your firearm until ten 24 hour periods have elapsed. For example, if you purchase a firearm on the 10th of the month at 10:03am, you may not pick up the firearm until after 10:04am on the 20th of the month. Also, the background check expires after 30 days starting after the DROS paperwork has begun, so if you leave your new firearm for more than 30 days after you started your DROS, you will have to start another DROS process, and pay for the background check all over again, plus wait an additional 10 days.

Proof of Residency

All Firearms sold in California must be on the roster of guns approved for sale in California. That list can be found at under the resource tab. Just enter the firearm you are looking to purchase. The only exceptions are for Active Law Enforcement Officers, and Face to Face Private Party Transactions (see the Fees section below for a description of PPTs). Firearm buyer’s must furnish additional proof of residency, as listed below.

When do you need Proof of Residence?  If your CA Driver’s License or CA ID card does not have your correct physical address on it, you will also need Federal Proof of Residence.

State Proof of Residency:

Government-issued document with your name and physical address on it (no PO boxes).  Examples of this are:

  • Valid car registration with your name and address (no PO Box allowed)
  • Municipal Utility bill with your name and address (no PO Box allowed) Utility bills are Electric bills, Water bills, Garbage bills if the utility is a Municipal Utility.  Copies of your insurance bill, renewal notices for registration, etc. are not allowed.
  • State or Federal ID, with an expiration date, plus your current address. Note that passports are not allowed.  Hunting and Fishing licenses are also not allowed.
  • Current Rental or Lease agreement, with your name and address on it.

Between Federal, State and local law, all firearms sold in our store must be sold with a California Certified Lock. If the firearm does not come with a lock, we are required to provide one at additional cost with the sale of the firearm.

Fees for Purchasing a Firearm

There are 3 types of firearm transactions in California, each with their own set of fees:

1)  Dealer Purchase.  A customer buys a firearm directly from us.  We procure the firearm, and handle all the appropriate paperwork.  We incorporate our fees in the price of the gun, but you are responsible for paying the DROS (Dealers Record of Sale) fee, which is currently $30, plus any applicable sales tax.

2)  Face-to-Face Private Party Transaction (PPT).  A customer buys a firearm from another private party and they complete the transfer at our store.  The firearm is not shipped to our store; rather the buyer and seller meet at our store and conduct the transfer in person.  We process the paperwork on behalf of the buyer and seller; the buyer or seller pays for the DROS, plus a $35 processing fee, and $10 for each additional firearm.  If the firearm does not include a CA Certified gun lock, the buyer or seller must purchase one from us. Both parties must be present at least one hour before we close for us to do the transaction.

3)  Non-Local firearm transaction.  A customer that buys a firearm out of area or out of State, the firearm must be transferred through a Federal Firearms Dealer. The firearm is shipped to us directly from an FFL Dealer, and the buyer comes into our store to complete the transaction.  The buyer is responsible for DROS fee, a $75 processing fee and applicable sales tax.  In addition, if the firearm does not include a CA Certified gun lock, the buyer must purchase one from us.  If multiple firearms are brought in from the same source, the $75 processing fee applies to the first firearm only, plus $10 for each additional firearm.

If you have any questions, please contact Brass & Bass for assistance at (951) 677-3316.



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